Typographical error in the Bhagavad-Gita?

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Fri Jan 7 16:29:45 UTC 2000

The story referred to by Claude Setzer is not a story about Zankara and
one of his students, but an Upani.sadic story about Satyakaama Jaabaala
(found in the Chaandogya-U, 4.4.1-5).  While a liberal interpretation of
this passage is indeed offered by many modern scholars, the Dharmazaastra
commentaries interpret it differently:  "Since you spoke the truth, you
must be a son of a Brahmin", rather than "anyone who speaks the truth is a
Brahmin, irrespective of the caste".See Medhaatithi on Manu (10.5):
gautamas tu satyavacanaan nizcikaaya braahma.nena ayam jaatas tatas tam
upaninye "[the teacher) Gautama, on the basis of Satyakaama's words of
truth, determined that he was begotten by a Brahmin, and hence he accepted
him as a student".  For a discussion of related issues, M. Deshpande,
"Aryans, Non-Aryans, and Braahma.nas: Processes of Indigenization", The
Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol. 21, Numbers 3-4, Fall-Winter 1993,
pp. 215-236.
                                Madhav Deshpande

On Fri, 7 Jan 2000, Claude Setzer wrote:

> I seems to be the very strong view of Sankara that women are not "eligible"
> for enlightenment. This of course has been a major topic for debate and
> dissatisfaction with his teachings ever since.
> On the other hand, Sankara seemed to be more liberal on the ability of men
> to become enlightened and even to "change" caste. There is the story that he
> was supposed to have supported, of the boy without a father who came to be
> initiated into study of the Veda. Since the boy admitted that he did not
> know who is father was and thus did not know what his caste was, the guru
> accepted him as Brahmin with the statement, " ...if he (must) tell the truth
> he must be a Brahmin." The point seems to be that "caste" is determined by
> one's nature rather than by one's "birth."
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Paul Kekai Manansala <kekai at JPS.NET>
> Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2000 3:17 AM
> Subject: Re: Typographical error in the Bhagavad-Gita?
> > Must women either reincarnate as brahmin/ksatriya men or master yoga to
> > achieve liberation/
> >

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